Tag Archives: teaching history

The Importance of Teaching History Accurately

1 Aug

Announcement!

            The next book in my Our America series is published! The Pioneer Adventure continues Finn and Ginny’s search for their lost parents. For more information and a pdf of free activities to go along with the book, click on the Our America link at the top of this page. And, to celebrate the publication of my new book, the Kindle version of the first book in the series, The Pilgrim Adventure will be on SALE for $2.99 on August 4th, 5th, & 6th.

Here is the link to the Kindle version that will be on sale: The Pilgrim Adventure

 

The Importance of Teaching  History Accurately

While I was researching The Pilgrim Adventure, I was extremely upset to hear about a children’s unit study on the Pilgrims that was full of inaccuracies and incorrect information. What particularly bothered me was a prayer that the unit claimed was given during what some call the first Thanksgiving feast. This prayer implied that the Pilgrims were thanking God for wiping out the Indians in the area so that the Pilgrims could have their land. There are two things wrong with this prayer. First, there is absolutely no record of any prayer uttered by the Pilgrims during the feast they had which we call the “First Thanksgiving.” Second, the person who the unit said gave the prayer did not come over on the Mayflower, was not one of the Pilgrims, and was not there at the “First Thanksgiving.” The unit was also full of other inaccuracies.

It seems to me that racial tension is high enough in our country without teaching children lies about history to make things worse. Why can’t we teach our children how to get along with each other instead of stirring up the flames of racial hatred and guilt in our children at a young age? Shouldn’t we want a future for our children free of racial tension and hatred? Yes, it is important to understand how different racial groups were treated in our history, but let’s teach the truth. And, let’s teach it in historical context. The Pilgrims were one of the first groups of Europeans who came to America with the intention of settling down and being friends with their native neighbors. If you look at how some of the other European ship captains, crew, and settlers treated the Native Americans of our East Coast, you can see that within the context of their time period and the threats they were facing, the Pilgrims were actually pretty ahead of their time. Teaching their history inaccurately is doing a disservice not only to their memories but also to our children.

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How We Homeschooled the Elementary Years: History

8 Jul

Hi Folks!

 Great News! The third book in my Our America series, The Salem Adventure is published! You can find it on Amazon at this link: The Salem Adventure.

 In The Salem Adventure, Finn and Ginny continue to search for their lost parents while living in Salem Village during the witch trials. For more information on this and the other books in the series, go to the Our America page of this website.

 To celebrate the new book, the Kindle version of The King Philip’s War Adventure will go on sale for FREE on July 15, 16, and 17th on Amazon, so mark your calendars so that you can take advantage of this offer. And if you and your children enjoy the book, I would really appreciate it if you would let Amazon know by writing a customer review of the book. This will help me with my future Amazon sales. The link to the Kindle version is: The King Philip’s War Adventure.

 Also, there are some free colonial activities to go along with The Salem Adventure at this link: The Salem Adventure activities.

 And now for the next part of my blog series on homeschooling:

How We Homeschooled the Elementary Years:  History

This is the third in a series of posts on how our family homeschooled during the elementary school years. As I mentioned earlier, there are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers and just because something worked for our family, doesn’t mean that it will work for yours. These posts are just here to let you know what worked for one family.

 As I look back on learning history in school, what strikes me now is how boring it was. I didn’t even realize that I had a love of history until long (very long) after I’d grown up.

 The clue to making history interesting is hidden right in the word: History. History is the story of mankind. It’s a story full of loyalty, betrayal, love, pain, and suffering, everything you need to make an interesting read. But classic textbooks take all of this human interest and turn it into boring lists of dates and names with very little of the emotions behind the facts. And if you don’t understand the emotions behind the story, you’re never going to really understand history.

 So how do we teach history to kids in a way that is fun and interesting? I used a combination of methods. History is a great subject to teach with unit studies, so we did lots of those, covering just about every historical topic that I could think of. There are many wonderful books out there full of fun activities having to do with history. You can find some of them on my list of homeschool books at this link: My Favorite Homeschool Resources. We cooked pioneer meals and ate them by candlelight, had a medieval fair with our homeschool friends, participated in a homeschool olympics, made countless crafts, and generally had a blast. I also gave my son many chapter books to read on the various time periods that we studied. I’ve listed as many as I could remember (and the list is growing) on the Historical Chapter Books page of this website. And, finally, we did use a couple of history courses, though, maverick that I am, I never followed them exactly. I liked these two courses because they told history as a story, not as a dry accumulation of facts. Both of them are on the My Favorite Homeschool Resources list:  The Story of the World series and Calvert’s A Child’s History of the World. Both come with teachers’ guides full of activities. A Child’s History of the World (be sure you purchase a newer version, the older ones are not pc) is Calvert’s fourth grade history course and it does not (at least when I purchased it) need to be purchased with the rest of Calvert’s fourth grade materials. The Story of the World is split into four volumes. We found the fourth one to be a bit difficult and dry for elementary school.

 So, my recommendation for teaching history is to toss out the textbooks and have fun with it! But, that’s just what worked for us.